UK based singer-songwriter Vinny Peculiar [aka Alan Wilkes] has been variously described as “an under-sung national treasure” (UNCUT Magazine) and “the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and Roger McGough” His various bands have included ex-members of The Smiths, Oasis, The Fall & Aztec Camera and he’s collaborated with Bill Drummond and Luke Haines along the way. ‘Return of the Native’ is his fourteenth studio album; eleven songs inspired by his return, after many years a northern wag, to his Worcestershire roots.
Glam Rock inspired opener ‘The Grove & The Ditch’ is all local gang rivalries, Rocky Horror misfits and Tony Blackburn’s infamous radio breakdown moment, pummeling guitars and walls of feedback combine.
The effervescently jangling ‘Malvern Winter Gardener’ is a tribute to Malvern Winter Gardens, home to many a classic Rock show of Vinny’s youth, a faded Rockstar narrator relives the glory days long gone.
In ‘Blackpole’ a battle re-enactor comes to an untimely end before returning as a ghost to haunt his ex.
This album is stuffed full of Peculiar’s trademark lyrical absurdity, in ‘Detroitwich’, Rap legend Eminem, after boarding the wrong plane, ends up in the Midlands where he is abducted by the mob before P Diddy comes to the rescue.
‘Singing Schoolteacher’ pays tribute to 70’s MOR Pop singer Clifford T Ward who taught Vinny in the early 1970s and the album ends with ‘Game Over’, a poignant finale, a song that mines sadness and confessional intimacy to moving effect
Musically ‘Return of the Native’ is the Folk Rock record Pulp never made, a warped storyteller’s record, one that will surely resonate with fans of Ray Davies, Eels, and Robyn Hitchcock.
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